The “Top Chef” effect on local Portland restaurants

Portland Chef Doug Adams Competes in Bravo's Restaurant Wars | Facebook

Portland Chef Doug Adams Competes in Bravo's Restaurant Wars | Facebook

The Portland culinary scene is well acclaimed for its diverse culinary offerings and large concentration of top chefs, and the food world has begun taking note.  In the past several years, a growing number of local Portland based chefs have begun appearing on culinary reality shows such as Top Chef, Iron Chef and Knife Fight.

These national broadcasted reality cooking shows have worked to broaden these chefs’ exposure across the country, allowing them to showcase their culinary talents to a wide audience.  Yet more significantly, the chefs’ experiences in the national limelight has had a tangible effect on their Portland based restaurants, referred to within the industry as the “Top Chef” effect.

Restaurants featured on these shows become new, trendy dining options for Portland locals and visitors to the city.  Immediately after airing, these restaurants often experience a surge of diners, making reservations at these new hot spots hard to come by.  While revenue has not become drastically impacted, the social media presence of these restaurants has skyrocketed and dishes featured on these reality shows often become the restaurant’s top sellers, selling out quickly every night and appearing on Instagram and Twitter accounts of hardcore foodies everywhere.  Chef contestants are also part of the craze and have become local celebrities in their own right, with diners clamoring to take their photos or get them to sign their menus or cookbooks.

The “Top Chef” effect has also extended beyond the individual restaurant and chef and has garnered great exposure for the Portland dining scene as a whole, marking the city as a premier culinary destination.  

Yet is the “Top Chef” effect sustainable?  Read More